Enlightenment And The Frech Revolution Essay Research

Enlightenment And The Frech Revolution Essay, Research Paper

There were many

views of the issue of slavery during the Enlightenment and the

French Revolution, and the resolution of slavery affected

economics, politics, and social order. The slave trade

triangle between Europe, west Africa, and the Indies has a

great affect on European economics during this time. The

only way for this elaborate trade triangle to work is if there

were black Africans available for export to the Indies as

slaves. If they were not available, then the landowners in the

new world weren’t able to produce the sugar, coffee, and

tobacco for export to Europe, and the circuit broken. These

African slaves were convenient, according to Guillaume

Raynal (document 6), because they were thought to be more

comfortable working in the hot conditions of the Indies,

because they had originally come from a very hot climate in

Africa. In order to make the best use of the land, more

efficient workers would be needed, and hence the slaves.

The issue of slavery has extensive impacts on French politics

during the Enlightenment and the revolution. Many colonists

and landowners were confused over the appliance of The

Declaration of Rights of Man to slaves and blacks

(document 13). If it did apply to them then slavery would be

abolished, which (according to document 10) would cause

the colonies to loose commerce, essentially destroying them

because French colonists had only profits from their trade to

live on. Those who were against slavery (documents 9, 15)

used The Declaration of Rights of Man as their main source,

in that it declared equal rights to all men, not just to white

men. Slavery affected European society also in many ways.

Generally, in terms of European society, most people were

against slavery, on the grounds that African slaves were

people too, and they deserved the same basic rights

declared in The Declaration of the Rights of Man. Most

suggested the question of why blacks only were enslaved,

sighting that skin color made no difference in the person

(document 7). Others, like Voltaire, said that the luxuries

that Europe now enjoyed, like sugar, cocoa, coffee, and

tobacco, were not really sufficient to gratify the enslavement

of thousands of slaves, especially since society had survived

without these luxuries for centuries before. These documents

paint a clear picture of the effects of slavery during the

Enlightenment and during the French Revolution. Politically

and economically slavery was defended based upon the fact

that the slave trade was an essential part in the continuum of

the trade triangle. Socially, on the other hand, Europe was

generally in protest of slavery, because the luxuries they got

out of it did not gratify innocent Africans being enslaved.


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